A Travellerspoint blog

May 2018

CRAMMING ICELAND AND MANY SEASONS INTO THREE AND A HALF DAYS

PART 3 - THE SOUTH COAST

sunny 12 °C

large_11677F7F-6..F3BF94DDDD1.jpeglarge_Iceland-2431.jpeglarge_Iceland-2429.jpeg

My trip to the south coast of Iceland was way too beautiful not to share even if I am almost two months late. Life has been a little crazy but I really should have done this long before now. So here is a brief recollection and some snaps of the 3rd, the longest and the most spectacular excursion while visiting Iceland.

My amazing host gave up yet another day to take us to the south of the island so we could have the most amazing geography lesson. We saw the highest peak, waterfalls, glaciers, beaches, glacier lagoons, and, of course, volcanoes. As we drove across thousand-year-old lava fields the landscape changed from barren and bleak to a complete wow almost with no warning. In contrast to last weekend, we had mostly sunshine ( with a few showers and grey clouds to keep us interested) and the average summertime high of 12 degrees.

Leaving Reykjavik, the views were incredible.

large_Iceland-2133.jpeg

We drove almost 5 hours to the south to see Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is is situated at the southern end of the Vatnajökull glacier. The glacial lake first appeared in 1934, and it has grown from 7.9 km2 in 1975 to at least 18 km2 today because of heavy melting of the Icelandic glaciers.

large_Iceland-2176.jpeglarge_Iceland-2179.jpeglarge_Iceland-2194.jpeglarge_Iceland-2198.jpeglarge_Iceland-2216.jpeglarge_Iceland-2228.jpeg

Just across the road is Diamond Beach or Crystal Beach, a black sand beach with chunks of decades old glacial ice that has washed up. The contrast of the ice against the black sand was stunning. The real name of the beach is Breiðamerkursandur.

large_Iceland-2237.jpeglarge_Iceland-2258.jpeglarge_Iceland-2265.jpeglarge_Iceland-2271.jpeglarge_Iceland-2289-1.jpeglarge_Iceland-2291.jpeglarge_Iceland-2301.jpeglarge_Iceland-2337.jpeg

Our drive back was more leisurely stopping to see glaciers and the ice cap. For this we were in the area known as the Skaftafell Nature Reserve

large_Iceland-2361.jpeglarge_Iceland-2368.jpeglarge_Iceland-2370.jpeglarge_Iceland-2386.jpeglarge_Iceland-2413.jpeglarge_Iceland-2417.jpeglarge_Iceland-2418.jpeglarge_Iceland-2422.jpeglarge_Iceland-2424.jpeglarge_Iceland-2432.jpeglarge_Iceland-2439.jpeglarge_Iceland-2442.jpeg

On the way back we stopped to see Skógafoss waterfall. One of many huge and powerful falls.

large_Iceland-2460.jpeg

I am very grateful for the opportunity to see this land of fire and Ice and to my incredible host, Leifur and colleague, Crystal for sharing it with me.

large_Iceland-2450.jpeglarge_84219A37-D..5AFBDC323E1.jpeg

Posted by curlygirl 17:09 Archived in Iceland Comments (2)

CRAMMING ICELAND AND MANY SEASONS INTO THREE AND A HALF DAYS

PART TWO – THE SNAEFELLSNES PENINSULAS

semi-overcast 2 °C

large_Iceland-1791.jpeglarge_Iceland-1827.jpeg

Our second day trip was a little longer, a little more spectacular but with the same crazy weather. I actually renamed this tour the Snuffleupagus ( yes, the Sesame Street character) peninsula simply because it was easier to say. I never did get a handle on any Icelandic words, there just always seems to be too many vowels or too many consonants put together is a really long word. We actually learned from Leifur that most of these words are just combinations of other words that describe the thing, place or situation. They are just combined into one long word. For example Foss means waterfalls and Gull means golden so yesterday’s Gullfoss was the golden waterfall. Either way, I was a disaster at pronunciation even with the excellent personalized lessons.

Today we were joined by our colleague from Singapore for the tour of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula on the western part of the island.

Here’s what the internet tells me about the peninsula.

At its western tip, Snæfellsjökull National Park is dominated by Snæfellsjökull Volcano, which is topped by a glacier. Nearby, a trail leads through lava fields to black-pebble Djúpalónssandur Beach. In Stykkishólmur fishing village, the 19th-century wood-frame Norwegian House is a regional museum with a craft shop.

large_Iceland-1807.jpeglarge_Iceland-1810.jpeglarge_Iceland-1815.jpeg

It was a really beautiful day. I was in awe of the constantly changing landscape.

large_Iceland-1833.jpeglarge_Iceland-1842.jpeglarge_Iceland-1845.jpeglarge_Iceland-1850.jpeglarge_Iceland-1864.jpeg

I loved the beach with the black cobblestones (formed from lava, like everything here) even though the wind and waves were tumultuous.

large_Iceland-1891.jpeglarge_Iceland-1916.jpeglarge_Iceland-1920.jpeglarge_Iceland-1921.jpeglarge_Iceland-1923.jpeglarge_Iceland-1944.jpeglarge_Iceland-1947.jpeglarge_Iceland-1963.jpeg

I loved all the isolated houses and churches.

large_Iceland-1800.jpeglarge_Iceland-1803.jpeglarge_Iceland-1805.jpeglarge_Iceland-1866.jpeg

And the beautiful furry ponies.

large_Iceland-2006.jpeglarge_Iceland-2020.jpeglarge_Iceland-2024.jpeg

I even loved my warm seafood soup in the fishing village for the bargain price of $35. Eating in Iceland was not cheap but it was the best seafood I ever had. High praise from a Newfoundlander.

large_8FEB4D5C-0..9178F983CF3.jpeglarge_Iceland-2000.jpeg

Here are a few more...

large_Iceland-1965.jpeglarge_Iceland-1975.jpeglarge_Iceland-1982.jpeglarge_Iceland-1991.jpeglarge_Iceland-1992.jpeg

Posted by curlygirl 17:00 Archived in Iceland Tagged iceland snaefellsnes peninsulas Comments (0)

CRAMMING ICELAND AND MANY SEASONS INTO THREE AND A HALF DAYS

PART ONE – REYKJAVIK AND THE GOLDEN CIRCLE

overcast 2 °C

large_180_7D90B8AC-C..1AD98E1C26B.jpeg

If you have been following my blog, you would have learned in my last post (Santa Maria) that Reykjavik, Iceland is home to one of the major Air Traffic Control on the North Atlantic. And just like Santa Maria, Reykjavik was on my bucket list mostly because I have worked so closely with the Icelandic people for my entire career.

I once again took the opportunity to add a couple vacation days on the beginning and end of my meetings and it did not disappoint. I was especially lucky because one of my Icelandic colleagues gave up so much of his time to make sure we saw as much as we could cram into our time. Not only did he show us around, but he provided a wealth of information. Leifur knows as much about his homeland as he does about air traffic control and automation and that’s a lot. I actually credit him with teaching me much of what I know in my current field.

After arriving in Iceland and taking the 45-minute bus ride from Keflavik to Reykjavik, I had a short nap before joining another of my Icelandic friends for a tour of the center. This is always a highlight for me.

large_Iceland-1679.jpeglarge_Iceland-1683.jpeg

Later in the evening, after the rain finally stopped and the sun came out, I took advantage of the long evenings to go for a walk. I enjoyed looking around and seeing all the statues.

large_Iceland-1689.jpeglarge_Iceland-1691.jpeglarge_Iceland-1718.jpeg

This steel sculpture known as the The Sun Voyager, overlooks Kollafjörður fjord. It was made by Icelandic artist Jón Gunnar Arnason and although many feel it resembles a Viking ship, the artist intended it as a dream vessel, and an ode to the sun.

large_Iceland-1713.jpeg

It was a great walk but it was windy and bitter cold. I got great view of the mountain Leifur climbs several times a week.

large_Iceland-1697.jpeglarge_Iceland-1702.jpeg

Our first day tour took us on the most popular tour for visitors to Reykjavik and were joined on by our colleague from Montreal (via Korea). The Golden Circle loop took us about 6 hours and really gave us a taste of the bizarre landscape and the CRAZY weather. I thought the weather in Newfoundland changed a lot but honestly in minutes it would change from sun, to rain, to snow, to hail and the changes continued all day.

We got to see the Geysir Geothermal Area and Gullfoss Waterfall.

large_Iceland-1737.jpeglarge_Iceland-1749.jpeglarge_Iceland-1764.jpeglarge_Iceland-1774.jpeg

We had partial views of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano (the one that erupted and caused the closing of airspace in 2010) but it was cloud covered. We did get close to its cliffs and the beautiful Seljalandsfoss waterfalls. The sun kept popping out when we stopped to show us the island's best and creating rainbows along the way.

large_Iceland-1777-1.jpeglarge_Iceland-1781.jpeg
large_B87801EF-6..936133EE8D4.jpeg

It was a great day. It amazed me just how barren the landscape was( 2/3 of Iceland’s population lives in Reykjavik), yet how my geography lessons kept appearing around me as we would be arrive at the most amazing sites.

large_Iceland-1722.jpeglarge_Iceland-1727.jpeglarge_Iceland-1729.jpeglarge_Iceland-1732.jpeglarge_Iceland-1778.jpeglarge_Iceland-1790.jpeg

Posted by curlygirl 17:00 Archived in Iceland Tagged golden iceland circle Comments (0)